Guns to Garden Tools
Saturday, October 14, 2023
12:00 Noon – 2:00 p.m
To Be Held in the Parking Lot of the Boulder Valley UU Fellowship
at 1241 Ceres Drive, Lafayette, Colorado
We will create a welcoming place for people to surrender firearms that could endanger lives. Guns are disabled on site; later to become garden tools.
WHAT DO WE PLAN TO DO?
Each morning, we wake up to news of another mass murder and/or suicide. Enough is enough. On October 14, 2023, we plan to collect and destroy 40-50 weapons in the parking lot of the Boulder Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (BVUUF) in Lafayette, Colorado. Ours will be the 6th such event offered by a faith community in Colorado and the first sponsored by a Unitarian Universalist congregation.
This gun surrender event is a living example of “the energy of action” that we proclaim each time we light the chalice at our Fellowship.
We are a gentle, loving people …
WHY IS A GUN SURRENDER WORTH DOING?
Tragically, we know that each year 48,830 people (2021 data) die by gun violence in the US. In an average year, 850 people die and 466 are wounded in Colorado. During the period of 2011-2020, the rate of gun deaths increased 41% and the rate of gun suicides increased 28% in Colorado.
Data shows that suicide attempts using a gun are 85% successful, most often used by men. They are often impulsive acts. Ready access to guns increases the likelihood that the victim will use this highly lethal method. Such acts end a life and forever change the lives of the survivors. All too often, children die accidentally, as collateral damage, in a dispute between family members or friends. In the two years between 2019 and 2021, the number of childhood death by firearms increased 50%. Two years ago, TEN people died on an ordinary Tuesday afternoon at a King Soopers grocery store, just 20 minutes from where our congregation is located. We lit candles for those victims … what an inadequate response! WE MUST DO MORE!
We are a justice seeking people …
WHO WILL WE WORK WITH?
Six weeks after that shooting at King Soopers, the Community United Church of Christ, a few blocks from the grocery store, organized a gun surrender event. They collected 40 weapons! Their planning team is guiding us. We will also work in conjunction with RAWTools, created by a Mennonite minster, in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre. They will bring equipment and experienced staff; teaching volunteers how to destroy weapons. They will later forge the metal into garden tools: transforming these instruments of death into life-giving tools. We will also partner with Guns2Gardens-Metro Denver which recruits, trains and supervises volunteers for such events.
Our event will depend on 40-50 volunteers. Our congregation is enthusiastic about this event and we plan to recruit most of the volunteers from our ranks.
Ours is the first UU congregation to take on such an activity in Colorado. We would support other UU congregations in the Pacific Western Region that wish to hold events in the future. We hope to promote our successful event via the UU World magazine and next year’s General Assembly. Perhaps Faithify will help to plant the seeds.
We are young and old together …
HOW WILL WE MAKE IT HAPPEN?
- Hold 3 information and discussion periods at BVUUF, welcoming the fears, concerns and enthusiasm of BVUUF members
- Special interactive service devoted to gun violence on September 17, 2023, to which we will invite those living in neighboring homes
- Learn from other faith communities that have held events
- Seek funding from Faithify, local municipalities, our members and other congregations
- Collaborate with RAWTools and Guns2Gardens Metro Denver
- Utilize social media, flyers in high traffic places, radio, newspaper ads
- Focus on capturing attention of and promoting within the Latinx community
- Recruit volunteers of all ages, including teens from BVUUF, people from the greater community, especially the Latinx community
- On October 14, 2023, create a welcoming environment in our church parking lot, where people can anonymously relinquish weapons
- Reward donors with a $50, $150, $250 grocery store gift card (depending on the type of weapon)
- Honor volunteers who served on that day with a lunch, donated by a local establishment.
- This event will be ZERO WASTE.
It is our goal to increase the visibility of our Fellowship and to proclaim the values of Unitarian Universalism.
We are a land of many colors …
HOW WILL WE FUND THIS EFFORT?
Total budget for this project is $10,000 based on collecting 50 weapons
- The majority of the expense is in the gift cards that are provided to people who surrender weapons; events like our collect 35-50 weapons
- RAWTools requests a fee for use of their equipment ($1,000) and a fee to defray the cost of their liability insurance ($1,200). Our liability carrier has been notified and does not require additional coverage.
- We are researching congregational and community sources of support should our Faithify campaign not be successful.
- Should we not need all of the gift cards that we purchase, we will consider a second event or will pass on the cards to other congregations, preferably a UU congregation.
We are a gentle, angry people and we are taking action for our lives.
Making a flyer to promote our event? Download the QR Code.